Will today’s small rural towns be the ghost towns of tomorrow? Will what’s now a moderately busy main street be overtaken by grasses and tumbleweeds? According to the CEDS “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy”, which was compiled in 2003 by the South Central Economic Development District, Franklin County ranks last in housing unit counts, wage and salary income, employer establishments. County population has declined over 34% from 5,449 in 1960 to 3,574 in 2000. (Gorman, 20) Is the future of Franklin, Nebraska a steady decline with an end as a ghost town in the future? Franklin has a chance to reverse this trend with lots of community involvement, and by taking immediate action.
There are many obstacles in the way of meeting the goal of making our small communities more livable and desirable. In the case of Franklin, there is a core group that has been in charge for many years and that is not easily convinced of the need to change. “Why change what has worked for many years? “ is only one of the questions that are heard many times. People don’t understand that in order to attract new families to move into our community, there has to be something to draw their attention to the area. Resistance to change is one of the greatest obstacles people that try to introduce change to small towns face (Gorman). Here in Franklin, ideas are often turned down, only because they may have come from an “outsider”. In this small town, everyone that has not been born in the community or in the next few towns up or down the river valley is an outsider. Unfortunately a distrust of strangers and their motives can be a great hindrance when making an effort to encourage growth.
Massive change in a community often requires a great financial effort, and funds that are not readily available to communities. Often the city council votes against a project because of lack of money in the community. They are unaware that there may be grant money available for community...
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